Doing what everyone else says you should do is easy. Focusing on that is tough.
Well, it’s not always easy, but it’s the easier way to work. If this is how people are successful, why be different?
There’s nothing wrong with doing what works. In fact, we teach other people how to wholesale the same way we sell precisely because it works. And it works extremely well, thank you very much! (shameless plug intended — visit Real Estate Disruptors to see what we offer). Focus on the right things, and success will follow.
Yet there is always something else out there. One of the fun and maddening aspects of real estate is the ever-changing nature of this business. Techniques that worked a couple of months ago may become ineffective due to a change in market conditions. That also means there are always new opportunities.
Most large, successful companies were not built on fantastic, completely new inventions. Apple built computers from existing components. Heinz developed ketchup based off of other sauces people were using to make rancid meat edible. Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile or the assembly line, but he married the two to make affordable cars.
New opportunities present themselves all the time. The question is, should you take it? And if you do, what will you sacrifice to build the Next Big Thing? Where should your focus be?
A Perfect Example
Sandy Cesaire of the Bellaire Investment Group was on my podcast recently. She had made it big in real estate, lost it all in the crash ($800,000 CASH!), and rebuilt her life and her business. Sandy took her past experiences and found a new market — mobile homes with land. Most REIs won’t touch mobile homes, mainly because we don’t know what to do with them.
Now Sandy didn’t know much about mobile homes. She knew how to buy and sell properties though, and she took that knowledge and shifted it to this new market. Sandy had to learn about the peculiarities of mobile homes along the way, but she didn’t reinvent the wheel. She took what she had already been successful with and plugged her systems into a new market that other real estate investors were avoiding. Then she added a wrinkle: instead of selling to other investors (who always want a low price), she sells directly to the general public. They save money, Sandy makes money, and everyone is happy.
Sandy expanded her business to other states and has plans to take it nationwide. All because she saw an opportunity and folded it into what she already knew worked. She stepped into an area others ran from and made it work. Sandy didn’t discover a new market — mobile homes are bought and sold every day — she applied her knowledge with a new twist to create a new opportunity.
Don’t Squirrel Around
People get into trouble when they get excited about something new and put all their energies into it. Classic Visionary problem — have a new idea and drop all your “boring” existing projects for the thrill of the new challenge.
The danger is that while you’re figuring out the bright shiny car, your old ones break down, and stop winning races for you. Pretty soon, you’re sitting in a Lamborghini but you don’t have any gas to put in it. And a garage full of supercars is useless if you can’t drive them.
Be careful of the shiny object, but don’t be afraid of it either. Remember, new doesn’t have to mean brand new, as in something completely different. It could be as simple as moving into a new market using your same systems.
Focus is key — Sandy admits in my podcast that she is constantly fighting to maintain her focus on the important things. It’s not that she doesn’t have big dreams or new ideas, but she knows if she chases them all, she won’t catch any.
Definitely dream and keep developing new ideas. After all, you don’t want to miss a golden opportunity, right? Then critically evaluate them, bounce them off other people, and let them simmer before adopting them. And don’t be afraid to put them on the back burner, or throw them out altogether.
You also don’t want to see every idea as a sure-fire winner. Looking at your own ”brilliance” with a skeptical eye might be the most difficult skill to master. And yet it’s essential to your success. While the idea may seem unbeatable during conception, upon reflection it may have more flaws and holes than the Titanic.
So keep dreaming and coming up with the Next Big Thing. Then throw darts at it, have others poke holes in it, blast it with dynamite, search for all the ways it could blow up in your face. Ask yourself, “How does this fit into the rest of my business and my life?” Be real, and then take those answers, even the ones you don’t like, and make your decision.
Even following this advice, the new idea could flop. Or it could be wildly successful. You won’t know until you take it through the process. Hopefully this method can help you avoid the new ideas that should remain ideas only and not put into reality.
You may find that only one in 20 ideas have any real chance of success. Don’t be discouraged; you saved yourself from 19 bad ideas! Don’t let discarded ideas get you down. Give yourself the freedom to dream, the discipline to evaluate, and the honesty to listen to the results.